Rail fares are set to rise by another 1.6% in January, adding around £100 to the cost of many annual season tickets.
The passenger watchdog, campaigners and unions have all called on the government to abolish the policy of annual fare rises at a time when passenger numbers on the railway have plummeted due to coronavirus.
The rise is set by the July RPI inflation figure, announced by the ONS this morning. It will apply to regulated fares, which include season tickets, anytime urban tickets, and off-peak long-distance returns.
The rise means fares will once again rise well above the more commonly used measure of inflation, CPI, which was just 1% for July. Fares rises have also outstripped wage rises for most of the last decade, at a time when fuel duty for motorists has been frozen.
The RMT union claimed fares could be cut by 5% by diverting funds currently paid to private operators during the coronavirus crisis, where the government has suspended franchises and underwritten losses on the railway, where passenger numbers are still less than a quarter of pre-Covid 19 levels.
The passenger watchdog, Transport Focus, has called for cut-price deals to incentivise the return to the railways, and joined the RMT and others in calling for season tickets for part-time commuters to reflect new working patterns and make rail travel more affordable.